While I’ve never been such a Philistine as to decline to see a film because it is in an unknown language and I’d have to read the subtitles, there is usually a sense of emotional distance when you have to read the words yourself. In the case of I’ve Loved You So Long, I felt no such distance. Indeed, this is the first time I’ve cried in a movie since… I don’t know when. Sure, I am a callous bastard, but I often find myself moved by a film, only, rarely do I find myself as moved as I was by this one.
I’ve Loved You So Long focuses on the story of Juliette Fontaine coming from prison to live with her sister, who was a young adolescent when she was incarcerated. The tensions of living with an extended family are exacerbated by Juliette’s personality, which it is accepted is altered by her time in gaol. Philippe Claudel’s story is beautifully structured to release just as much information as is necessary to keep you interested, while retaining just enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I have never seen a French film that I haven’t liked, but I have also never seen a French film of this calibre. It is an outstanding piece of storytelling, full of pathos and charm.